Microsoft recently announced the product we’ve all been wanting it to make for years: a full version of Windows running in the cloud, known as Windows 365. While the service is currently only available to businesses, Microsoft has encountered extraordinary demand. Only days after opening up free trials of Windows 365, Microsoft has been forced to pause new sign-ups due to limited server capacity.
Windows is still the dominant desktop operating system in large part due to the huge amount of software that runs on it. Remember Steve Ballmer sweating buckets while he chanted about “developers developers developers?” He wasn’t just sweaty, he was right. (and very moist about it –Ed) That’s why getting access to a full version of Windows in the cloud is so appealing. You can access the Windows 365 environment from almost any device, which is easier than emulating or dual-booting. Plus businesses have more control over the files and applications. It supports Windows remote desktop, but a web browser will work just fine, too. With a compatible browser, Windows 365 is certified to work on macOS, iPad, Linux, and Android.
According to Microsoft’s Scott Manchester, the free trials will come back soon. Earlier today, the site would throw an error message when anyone attempted to sign up, but that’s been replaced by a registration form. You can sign up to be notified when more slots are available. First, Microsoft has to provision additional server capacity. However, there’s still no word on a consumer-facing version of Windows 365.
We have seen unbelievable response to #Windows365 and need to pause our free trial program while we provision additional capacity. Sign up below to get notified when trials resume. https://t.co/Q05C7cBWMh
— Scott Manchester (@RDS4U) August 3, 2021
Microsoft has at least revealed pricing since the original announcement. The base virtual machine starts at $20 per month, per user. The costs go up from there, topping out at $162 per month for the eight core fully specced version. $240 per year for a fully functional cloud PC might be an ok deal under certain circumstances, but $1944 per year for a cloud-based OS is pretty high.
The systems available are business-oriented, so don’t get any bright ideas about running games. The base system sports a single CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. But you can get up to eight CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. It should come as no surprise that a free trial of this service has seen high demand, even if you need to be a business entity to sign up. Perhaps Microsoft intended for the capacity to run dry early, getting it even more attention. And here we are.
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